Portland to Host 2016 United Methodist General Conference

November 19, 2009

Tampa, Fla. - The Commission on the General Conference has announced that Portland, Oregon has been selected as the site for the 2016 General Conference. The United Methodist Church's top legislative body will meet at the Oregon Convention Center, the largest convention center in the Pacific Northwest, at a time tentatively scheduled as May 10-20, 2016.

Dr. Randall Miller of the California-Nevada Annual Conference serves as Chair of the Commission on the General Conference. 
"I believe the Portland area will afford the General Conference a fine experience in West Coast hospitality," said Bishop Robert Hoshibata (at left) of the Portland Episcopal Area. "We will do all we can to make it a warm and welcoming place where we can do the work of the church in an atmosphere of grace, as well as sharing the gifts of the Portland area with the wider United Methodist community." He added that it would also be a great experience for United Methodists who live in the area to be able to see and participate in the event. 
The site of the General Conference has traditionally rotated among the church's five geographic U.S. jurisdictions, with the 2016 event to be held in the Western Jurisdiction. The last General Conference in the Western Jurisdiction was in Denver in 1996.
Tampa, Florida, in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, will host the 2012 meeting. Tampa was also the site of the November 11-13 meeting of the commission, which plans and directs the General Conference session.
Three California cities were finalists
A request for proposals was submitted to 16 potential sites in the Western Jurisdiction. Portland was one of five finalists considered by the site selection team. The other finalist cities were Seattle, Washington, along with San Jose, Los Angeles, and Long Beach, California.
A number of factors were considered in the selection of a meeting site, including suitability of facilities, availability of adequate space, proximity of hotel rooms, cost of lodging, meals, airfare, meeting space, and sales and room taxes. 
Commission on the General Conference Chair Dr. Randall Miller, a Cal-Nevada lay member, said that Portland's hospitality and its "greenness" added to the city's appeal. Portland was named the "Greenest City in America" by Popular Science in 2008.
"Portland not only has a commitment to recycling, but also to green energy," Miller (at left) said. "A lot of the buildings have been designed to take advantage of green energy sources, and the way the city is structured in terms of transportation minimizes the use of cars. In many ways, Portland conforms [to] the values we have in The United Methodist Church about being wise stewards of God's resources." (Watch :31 video clip here.)
Delegates from the U.S., Africa, Europe, and Asia will attend the gathering, which is expected to attract up to 6,000 visitors. The economic impact of the event on the Portland area is roughly estimated to be about $7 million. 
Portland is a part of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference, which has more than 32,000 members and 213 local churches.
About General Conference
General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church and meets once every four years. The conference can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy, and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs.
(Watch :29 video clip, Randall Miller on the selection of Portland as the site of the 2016 General Conference, here. Both video clips courtesy Diane Degnan, United Methodist Communications.) 
[Join the conversation - click here to post a comment on the Cal-Nev Communications Facebook page.]